The Frontier are an unsigned indie-pop/alt rock band from the Washington D.C. area. The Frontier is the brainchild of Jake Mimikos, who formed the project in 2016. After years of playing in different bands he felt ready for a solo project he could control completely. Jake describes his younger self as a “pretty lonely and weird kid” that “naturally just gravitated to rock and punk music”.
“Some of the first memories I have of playing the guitar is covering Green Day songs. My sound has really evolved and changed over time since then.”
What got you into music? When did you start singing / playing?
“What got me into music was a multitude of things. Part of it was just seeing how cool and fun it looked, but also I felt a powerful connection to it. Music really impacted me. I feel like it’s how I learned about the world. I started playing guitar and learning on my own. Eventually I studied and read a few books on playing guitar and songwriting. I’ve mostly been self taught, but I always try to learn new things and grow as a musician. I think I got my first guitar when I was 14. I played my first open mic when I was 18. Shortly after, I formed my first band. From there it’s been years and years of growing and trying new things and trying to connect with an audience. It’s been quite the journey.”
What are your fondest musical memories?
“My fondest musical memories are of course the highs that are experienced. I’ve been fortunate to get to do some pretty incredible things as a musician. Some of them include opening up for Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Halestorm, Stonesour at the Rockstar Energy Music Festival in my old rock band. We also opened up for Buckcherry at the Fillmore in NC. I’ve recorded an album in the Pocono Mountains in PA. I’ve toured up and down the East coast. I’ve made some life long connections with people. That has been wonderful. Some people have followed me since the beginning and that’s been the most special thing to me.”
What can you tell me about the first song you ever wrote?
“I’ve written so many songs at this point. It’s hard for me to even remember the first song (laughs). If I recall, it was a song about heartbreak. A lot of my songs are in some way connected to heartbreak. It’s kind of an ongoing theme I’ve had going for quite some time. It’s also something that I’ve tried to change too. I’ve done songs that are about different subjects as well.”
Who are some of your musical influences?
“I’m a fan of many styles and genres of music, but a lot of my influences stem from 90’s and classic rock. Some of my favorite artists and songwriters include Stephen Tyler, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Jeff Tweedy, Tom Petty, Claudio Sanchez, Axl Rose, and many more.”
“Well, like I said a lot of my songs centered around the theme of heartbreak. This one is no exception. It’s really straight forward and that was done purposefully. I want people to understand and I also want to communicate clearly and honestly with the listener. I like to write sometimes as if it were just a conversation with a friend. I don’t like to hide too much behind metaphors. Not saying I don’t use them, but I feel like when I listen to music I want to connect and understand the meaning. This is generally how I like to write.”
Your song ‘Neon Rays’ featured in an episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. How did that come about?
“Yeah, I was so excited about that when I heard the news. My producer and I have a deal with a music licensing company based out of NY that does placement in TV/Film. My song was selected and it was a huge moment for me as a songwriter. It gave me more confidence to continue down this path. I’ve been fortunate to also have songs placed on MTV and NPR too!”
(Legends of Tomorrow fan here, so if anyone is interested – it’s episode 13 from season 4, the one where Rebecca Silver is going to reveal her secret identity, ed.)
Your sound appears different with every release. Sometimes it’s more on the poppy spectrum, sometimes it’s rock oriented, sometimes acoustic. Is that a conscious decision? Regarding musical styles and genres, is there anything different that you would like to explore?
“Ya know, it’s something that I am still wrestling with a bit as an artist. Ultimately, I am just very ADD when it comes to music. I like to listen and play a lot of different styles. I have slowly been working on trying to focus more on one style. It’s a hard thing for me. I think these days a lot of people listen to many different types and styles of music too, so it’s okay for artists to experiment a bit. For me, being an artist means being able to express myself freely. I want to be able to grow and evolve. I’ve been in rock bands, metal bands, funk/hip hop, and done cover bands. I’d like to experiment as much as I can.”
I always love hearing about the creative process, so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into that. What inspires you most?
“That’s a heavy question…(laughs). I’ve always thought that there was no one way to create. I’ve also always thought that I don’t want to limit myself to one process or one line of thinking through that process. In a way it kind of made me crazy (laughs). I’ve gone off the deep end with creativity. Spent so much time in my head trying to push my limits and maximize my creative potential. In the end, I’ve found the best way for me is just to get out of my own way and just let it flow. If I feel the spark then I roll with it. Sometimes it’s the music, a guitar riff, an idea, a song title, a song lyric, or something painful that pushes me to create.”
Do you enjoy the process of creating?
“For me there is nothing quite like the process of creating. It’s powerful and fulfilling in so many ways. I’m not a huge artist who makes a lot of money from my music. I don’t even have the biggest following yet, but one thing I do get is joy from the process of creating. Even if I’ve created something that came from a painful experience because there is a great relief that comes from the release. I always enjoy the final product. If I’m not enjoying it then that usually means it’s not working for me.”
Are there any songs you wish you’d written yourself?
“That’s a tough one. I mean there are so many songs that I truly love and feel like have influenced me in so many ways. A couple I can think of ‘Dream on‘ by Aerosmith, ‘Mr. Brightside‘ by the Killers, ‘Sweet Child ‘O Mine‘ by Guns ‘n Roses, oh and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ by Queen.”
What kind of recording facilities do you have at home?
“At home I record demos pretty regularly. That is a new thing and it started around the time the pandemic began. It gave me an opportunity to focus on recording software and get a home studio set up. I’m still working on getting better at recording on my own. It’s a really fun process and I’ve been loving recording demos. It’s almost addicting to be honest.”
What do you enjoy most as a musician?
“The things I enjoy most about being a musician are writing songs, connecting with an audience, recording, and pretty much everything else having to do with music (laughs).”
Do you have any hobbies outside of music?
“Yeah, I like to ride my bike and take my dog for walks. When the weather is warm I love to be outside and explore new parks nearby.”
What’s next? I understood you expect to release a full album later this year?
“Next, I’m planning to just continue to release singles. I think for me that makes the most sense. I’ve got a ton of music and I am not someone who likes to sit on music for long. At this point in my career part of the fun for me is releasing the songs and seeing who connects with the music. It can still be a bit nerve-racking, but I still love it. In today’s music industry I think it’s best to always have music ready to go and be releasing music as often as you can. It’s a lot of work, but if you love it, it’s fun!”
What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20?
“I thought ‘Hangman‘ by Van Tastik was pretty cool. Dig some blues.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track to our chart and why?
“I checked out a song called ‘Owe It To You‘ by Emma & the idles a little while back and I remember it being a cool track. Bet that would fit well.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
“You haven’t asked me about my dog. My dog’s name is Atlas and he is my little roadie. He is a Mountain Cur and I try to include him in a lot of my social media posts. He is the coolest puppy. I’ve brought him to my gigs before and it’s always a hit.”
Want to see photos of Atlas? All of the Frontier social links can be found here.